Date Archives December 2011

Go Spinja, Go Spinja, Go!

To my shame and great dismay, I kept losing this game. This stupid game. This stupid, jerky, jerkfacey stupid game.

I don’t have a problem with competitiveness. I have a problem with losing.

A Neurotic’s Christmas Diary

December 20th I’m about to embark on an eight day visit with my boyfriend’s family. I’ve assembled clothing that makes me look like I have some sense of how to dress like an adult. I’ve bitten my nails to the quick. My face is breaking out. My period is starting. So far, things are not off to a good start.

December 21st Arrival! It has been a long day of traveling, and we’re dirty in that special “airline travel” sort of way. Heedless at our discomfort at being photographed in such a state of filthiness, my boyfriend’s brother snaps about a thousand photos at the airport and another thousand or so at dinner. I’m sure there were gobs of cilantro hanging out of my teeth, because that vile weed is equally adept at ruining photographs as well as meals. This is an especially dire situation as boyfriend’s family does not believe in the concept of throwing away bad photos, instead displaying them proudly in their home for all to see, forever. Cilantromouth pimpleface greasyhair bloaty mcgee, for all time.

December 22nd It didn’t take long for them to realize that I am stupid, functioning with only the barest of life skills and interested only in superficial, petty things. His father figured it out first, telling me that his son had painted replicas of two famous paintings hanging on their walls, and asking me who the original artist was. They appeared Impressionistic but beyond that I couldn’t say. “Someone needs to learn their Monet ” he responded, handing me a book about the painter. “It’s study time, you need to read up before we can go out.”

He also studies and collects fossilized bivalves and various insects; he has had a few named after him and has written academic papers on others. He showed me some of his collection but didn’t really explain what made something an oyster versus a clam versus a scallop, so when he gave me a pop quiz on some of the specimens he had in his car, I did not exactly pass with flying colors. Later, he told us he was working on a paper about craneflies but didn’t know whether it was grammatically correct to write it as one word or split it into two. It was yet another instance where I was put to the test and was found wanting.

When he asked me what sort of things I was interested in, I could not give a single answer that didn’t seem frivolous. I might as well have said “Hurr, I like it when people make a funny fall down time thing, look, there is a cat, durrr.”

His mother notices that I am not eating the appetizer at dinner. I am called out on it, and now things are extra awkward. I have trouble eating around people I don’t know well. I have spent years carefully avoiding meals in public, and now everyone is looking at me expectantly. I flush and shut down, not willing or able to go into the mechanics of this eating disorder. I’m pretty sure they hate me now.

December 23rd I have come to understand that there will be no time for solitary activities on this trip. As a person with a need for a significant amount of alone time, this is proving problematic. The boys can be absorbed in their electronic devices, but I am called upstairs to help in the kitchen, where I am grilled on my family history. The only time I get to myself is the time I spend in the bathroom. I’m beginning to spend more time in the bathroom, but even this has backfired as it’s difficult to explain what you’re doing in the bathroom to someone who comes looking for you and finds you in there for the third time in an hour.

December 24th Today we spent three hours crammed in the car together driving to Pittsburgh. His father believes in learning while driving, instructing his sons to read to him from a book on plant life during the ice age. When they refuse, he turns on a Spanish language instructional CD, blaring it for maximum educational potential. “It’s not possible.” “No es possible.” His mother attempts to engage us all in conversation–her husband, who is listening to the CD, her younger son, who is in a meditative trance, and her elder son and myself, both of us attempting to block everything out with our headphones. No es possible.

Our first stop in Pittsburgh is the nursing home his grandmother lives in. She is tired and confused, and grabs onto my hand for what feels like hours. Everyone in the room photographs us holding hands as though it were a tender moment between us, and it makes me feel awkward and want to flee. They should be making the most out of what could be one of their last visits with her, not forcing a stranger on her instead of her own grandchildren. I resent being made the center of attention when I rightfully should be the least important person in the room.

Outside, a senile woman roams the halls, mumbling and shouting gibberish. “She’s as useless as tits on a bull!” we hear through the curtain. His grandmother shares a room with a woman who is paralyzed from the neck down; she has been so for forty years, trapped in this room. Her whole family is dead. The curtain stays drawn between the two women, and we gathered on the side with his grandmother, blocking her out from our gift giving and photo-taking. Desperate to be included, she continues shouting obscenities through the curtain. “SHIT!” “What’s wrong?” my boyfriend’s mother would ask. “My life. My life is shit. It’s one great big turd that won’t flush. I’m going to live forever.”

I know how she feels.

December 25th This morning started with breakfast at his grandfather’s house, and then back to the nursing home. I couldn’t deal with a repeat of the day before, so I stayed in the hallway and called my family. Grandpa noticed that I wasn’t present, and when I went into the room to say goodbye to them both, he said nothing. I’m pretty sure he hates me now.

We spent two more hours crammed into the car to Akron to meet his mother’s side of the family. It is enormous, and I have photos of myself with every possible combination of all of them. I have had more photographs and video taken of me this trip than I have over the course of the rest of my life, combined. One of the children immediately grifted money from me. Nearly every single one of these relatives told me that my boyfriend used to defend one of his cousins from everyone else because she used to be so “roly-poly”, with a raised eyebrow and a pointed glance in my direction. I guess I am the one who needs defending now. One of his aunts gave his mother a spy camera shaped like a pen. Nowhere is safe anymore.

On the trip in the car back to Columbus, his father’s CD blares about the world ending in fire. I can’t wait.

December 26th I discovered my first gray hair today. I’m sure it popped in the moment my boyfriend’s mother suggested that someday she and his father could build a wing onto our home and move in with us. I broke out in hives at the same moment, sweating and itching profusely but not able to move, fearful that any movement would attract attention to me, like a t-rex to a flare, and I’d have to come up with some manner of positive response to her suggestion. Frozen in place, my brain began to furiously sift through potential responses. “Yes, and someday hell might freeze over.” “I’d burn the house down first.” “As it turns out, we’re planning a life of being adventurous boxcar hobos.” …Nothing seemed appropriate.

We managed to break away for an hour before dinner, which we used to get drunk. Alcohol made me more gregarious but still not open to the idea of co-habitation. I stuffed food into my mouth to avoid anything negative coming out. There’s another flattering photo for the holiday mantlepiece.

December 27th I spent a lot of the day carefully packing and repacking my suitcase in between trips to the bathroom before going out to spend dinner with some of my boyfriend’s high school friends. I am pretty sure the family knows I am avoiding them and thinks I am a jerk. However, I am physically and emotionally exhausted, without anything left to give anyone, so I don’t really care.

December 28th The stress of not having any time truly to myself for days has manifested into a neck and shoulder so stiff I can hardly move. We are dropped off at the airport bright and early to discover that we will be seated in separate rows, both in middle seats, so there’s no potential to trade with anyone. No one wants to give up a window or an aisle seat for a middle seat. No one.

I suppose I should be thankful I’m on a plane at all instead of in a holding cell after the way I mouthed off to the TSA agent, but I’m not. I was standing in front of the metal detector, coatless, shoeless, beltless, and walletless, with absolutely everything taken out of my pockets. Before I could pass through, I was instructed by the agent to take off my thin, loosely wrapped scarf as well. I ripped it off my neck, flung it in the bin and asked if there was anything else I could take off for him. He immediately became defensive and said I could have been keeping anything under there, as if my chest was some sort of massive repository with unlimited storage potential for illicit substances. I shot back that if it was a matter of national security, he should know that I also had undergarments hiding underneath my shirt and pants, and under those, I had a tampon crammed up into my vagina, and did he need to know the brand? I then went further and muttered that he didn’t have to take off his pants for me to know what was hiding underneath–a great big asshole. I was heading toward a middle seat; what did I have to lose? I figure an economy class middle seat on an airplane and the facilities in Guantanamo are roughly equivalent.

Someone in front of me on the plane had gas. Rancid, eggy, foul gas. I was afraid that my seatmates thought it was me befouling the air, which would mean that not only was I the fat person spilling over into their seats and touching their armrests, I was smelly besides. I spent four hours clutching myself in an attempt to make myself as small and unobjectionable as possible, actually apologizing to the beautiful, slender girl next to me when she spilled a soda into my purse. “I shouldn’t have had it under the seat,” I said. “I should have known better. I’m sorry.” Someone in a row behind me vomited, the sharp tang of bile and alcohol mixing with the secretions of the most gaseous person alive.

When we got home, we discovered our entire house was covered with craneflies. I still don’t know if it should be one word or two.

Music to Induce Merry Madness

For some foolish reason, I started a battle of bad Christmas music with a friend. Little did I realize this is a well that will never run dry. So to get you in the holiday mood (note, I didn’t say GOOD mood), here is our lovingly compiled list, perfect for inspiring an evening of heavy drinking or used as a not-so-subtle way to encourage relatives to leave your home.

Dr Elmo: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer Rap

Ali Lohan: Christmas Magic

John Denver: Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)

Yogi Yorgesson: I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas

Lou Monte: Dominick the Donkey

Cyndi Lauper: Christmas Conga

Little Cindy: Happy Birthday Jesus

DJC: I Want A Blowjob For Christmas

Chewbacca: Silent Night

Bongleburt Doppelganger: O Come All Ye Faithful

Tiny Tim: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

The Goodies: Father Christmas (Do Not Touch Me)

Eazy E: Merry Mothafuckin’ Christmas

Kevin Bloody Wilson: Hey Santa Claus You Cunt

Fist Me This Christmas

New Kids on the Block: Funky Funky Xmas

Dunlap: I Don’t Feel Like Fuckin’ This Christmas

Busta Rhymes: Grinch featuring Jim Carrey

We could keep going for quite some time–there’s enough legitimately terrible Christmas music out there to horrify and enthrall us for days, but I have got packing to do and movies to pan (Jim Carrey, I’m not done with you), so this list will have to suffice.